The Ballad of Falchior and Carl (Or, the Adventures of the Fourth Wise Man)

by Jennifer Rumberger


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There once was on a dusty road four wise men from afar
One brought a gift to give the king of apples from his yard
And when the star was shining bright, the four men stopped to rest
And when one woke he found himself alone and quite distressed


Falchior stood in the field alone, where there were now sort of a lot of stars, actually, and he didn’t know what to do. The thing was, he liked apples very much, and thought the king of kings would probably prefer an apple or two to a bunch of funeral ointments, also what is a baby going to do with gold, that donkey is going to get tired, let’s get serious. So he looked up, and he picked a star, and the star was maybe a bit redder then before, but you know what, you gotta make a choice, and so he did.  

He followed ‘cross the lonely field his newfound star of red
And though he saw no angels, he saw something else instead
A tiny, little sheep was lost under the midnight sky
And the wise man collected him, and told it not to cry


So he called the sheep Carl. And Carl was a bit fucked up, like it was clear the flock probably lost him on purpose. But Falchior was grateful to not be alone. And so they went along together like that for a month or so, until frankly, they both started to panic a little bit. It was clear they were getting no closer to the king. They sat down to rest and ate a few apples, which by now had fermented a little, and suddenly, an angel appeared to them with enormous black wings. This was clearly not the angel they were supposed to be seeing, but Carl tucked himself into Falchior’s cloak, and shook with terror, and they listened to him.  

The night, the night, it seems so long and strange
I know, young wise man and Carl, you want something to change
But some journeys are meant to just feel long 
And such is life, my friends
such is lonely life, my friends
Just try and love the night, my friends
and grow strong, let your legs grow strong, let your heart grow strong
And keep on searching

Also that’s Jupiter you’ve been following…. (echoes away) 

And from that moment on everything was different. Falchior decided to stop right there, and he built a little cottage on that very spot, which was somewhere in maybe Northern France, where they had socialized medicine and it was actually a pretty good situation for him, and for Carl. And he plants apple trees, years pass, they have tea in the evenings and there’s some nice birdwatching for him and Carl, and he lives a pretty great life actually.  

And years from then, one early dawn, a messenger arrives 
He brings a new pressed Bible with stories of other lives 
of wise men who had met the king and had their legends born 
And Falchior and Carl walked out and met another morn

And so they did. And every morning they walked together, and every night they sipped their tea and looked up at the regular stars, and at regular boring Jupiter, which turned out was like an annual thing, no big mystery, and so they lived out their lives.  



Audio editing and mastering by Austin Heller.

Jennifer Rumberger

Jennifer Rumberger is a playwright, essayist, and insomniac with a love of craft beer, but like 70% of it is because of the pictures on the cans. She is currently under her electric blanket enjoying the 4pm darkness.